Today's guest post comes from Shawn from Binghamton, a great Twins' fan who not only follows the big league team all over the place (he went to Wrigley field this season to see the Twins play) but follows the AAA team (Rochester Red Wings, NY) and the AA team (New Britain, Rock Cats, CT) as well. Without further ado, here is his post:
I appreciate Thrylos giving me the opportunity to guest blog and showing me how much work it is.
My name is Shawn and I am a lifelong baseball fan from northern MN. I have been a Twins fan since 1984. I live in Binghamton, NY and go to as many New Britain and Rochester games near my area as I can.
This last week New Britain came to town for a 3 game set. New Britain has been playing well of late, going 9-6 leading to this series in Binghamton.
Tuesday’s game did not work out very well. The game started early due to impending weather. My stepson and I sat down in time to watch Whit Robbins hit a double in the top of the 3rd, and then lightning struck. I would have liked to see Mike McCardell pitch for the first time but play was suspended. We sat underneath the canopy to ride out the weather for a bit. Unfortunately the rain blew through the stands and we had to run for cover. The pictures included don’t even do it justice. These are the ones I could take before we were blown out of the stands. We were completely soaked and I couldn’t get any more pictures off.
Needless to say, the game was suspended.
Wednesday was an old fashioned minor league double header, with 7 innings remaining from the prior night and another 7 inning game. Frank Mata started third and it didn’t go well, he went .1 innings giving up 4 earned runs on 3 hits and a walk, he took the loss. Kyle Waldrop, former #1 pick was next, he went 3.2 giving up 1 earned on 3 hits and a walk with a strikeout. He looks to be adjusting nicely after an injury derailed 2008 His fast ball topped out at 91. The man I wanted to see relieved him, Loek Van Mil, the 7’1” pitcher just called up from A ball. The 24 year old has come back strong from injury and is starting to turn heads. Seth Stohs mentioned that Loek had hit 99 in Fort Myers. This game his velocity was 94-96, touching 97. He was having a hard time hitting the strike zone and his fastball seemed a little straight. He went 1.1 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 2 hits and a walk. If he can throw strikes and mix his pitches he will be a great reliever. Spencer Steedley came in to finish off game. He went .2 innings and giving up 1 hit. I discovered a new scrappy underdog player. I had never heard of Yancarlos Ortiz and with his under 600 OPS I know why. I loved watching the kid play short; if he could learn to hit a little he’d have a future as an all glove SS in the majors. Of course Nicky Punto is in the majors so anything is possible. Little Papi did go 3-4 in this game however and will be a joy for minor league baseball fans. Brandon Roberts went 2-5 and Whit Robbins went 2-4 with a double.
Even this crappy Iphone shot shows a little how big he is:
Between games we headed over to the New Britain bullpen. I really wish I knew more faces to the names of the players, so I had a better reference of who I was speaking with, but most of the prospects were new to AA. The guys couldn’t have been a better bunch of guys. I congratulated Loek on his call up and gave him crap about hitting 97 when he topped out at around 90 in 2008. The other guys busted on him saying the Binghamton gun must be fast. Loek was sheepish about it. He wasn’t terribly effective in the prior game and seemed to be a humble guy. He told us he only hit 85 when he was signed. We got an autographed ball with Carlos Gutierrez, Frank Mata, Van Mil, Steedley, Waldrup, Alex Burnett, & Jeff Christy… got Juan Portes added later. My stepson was very excited. I told him that 3 or 4 future Twins had signed his ball. The guys were all good dudes.
Game 2 was a well pitched game by Ryan Mullins. He gave up a run on 6 hits over 6 innings, striking out 3. New Britain won 6-1, but I noticed a ton of warning track power in this game and from this team. Erik Lis must fly out to the warning track every other at-bat. If he could gain 20 feet on his flies he’d be a legitimate major league DH. Rene Tosoni finally hit one out in the 5th, going 2-3. Brandon Roberts and Brian Dinkleman also went to 2-3 with a double for Dinkleman. Alex Burnett came on for a scoreless 7th giving up 2 hits and a walk. He looks good out in the bullpen.
Rene Tosoni, Brandon Roberts, Luke Hughes, and Erik Lis:
Thursday we got to see Deolis Guerra for the first time. He looked really good against his former organization. He earned rave reviews from the Binghamton manager Mako Oliveras:
"We just ran into a very good pitcher," Oliveras said. "He's a very good kid. It's sweet and sour. I hate that we got beat, but it's still sweet to see one of the kids you've worked with be successful - even against you." "He changed speeds well," Oliveras said. "He located his fastball real well, and his change-up was outstanding. So was his curveball."
His fastball only reached 90; sitting at 86-89 but his changeup coming in at 74-76 was a devastating pitch. His mechanics were nice and fluid and he had a very repeatable delivery. I am betting he can gain a couple more miles back on his fastball as his body grows into itself. He gave up 2 runs, 1 earned and 5 hits in 6.2 innings striking out 6. The 2 runs were relatively unlucky, a double that hit the chalk line, a Texas league single, pass ball, error, and a sac. fly. Brian Dinkleman keeps hitting the ball well going 2-5 with a double and a HR. He should be rising up the prospect lists. Wilson Ramos looks like a stud. He went 3-4 with a walk and his body looks like more power should develop. Steve Singleton also went 2-4 with a double. I tweeted during the game that Matt Moses didn’t play any of the games, apparently due to a finger injury. It hasn’t been an easy road for Matt and he will probably be with another organization next year, but he seemed like a good team mate, cheering, high fiving, on the rail, and interested in the game. Hopefully it works out for him I kind of feel badly for a guy.
That’s it. Thanks to Thrylos for letting me babble a little about AA baseball. Minor league ball is fun and this is a good crop of players New Britain brings to town. Many of these players will be playing for the Twins soon.